The Home Wine Program uses the following definitions for sweetness.
Dry up to 4g/l sugar
Medium dry from 4 to 12g/l
Medium sweet from 12 to 45g/l
Sweet above 45g/l
Dessert above 80g/l
The figures for dry through to sweet are in accordance with EU regulations and that for dessert is from the US Department of Agriculture.
What is the body of a wine?
The body of a wine is the full mouth feel. If you know the difference in mouthfeel between skimmed and full fat milk then you can liken those to light and full bodied wines. The body of a wine is influenced by the amount of soluble solids and these come from substances including proteins, minerals, acids, pectin and sugars. The following scale was derived by studying tasting notes for several wines from a panel of judges, and comparing them with the calculated soluble solids levels.
Very light up to 1%
Light from 1 to 1.8%
Light to medium from 1.8 to 2.6%
Medium from 2.6 to 3.3%
Full from 3.3 to 4%
Very full above 4%
Tannins are phenolic compounds found in the skins of many fruits and contribute a degree of bitterness.
The tannin content of white wines is usually up to 0.05%, and rose’ wines contain around 0.08%.
Reds range from around 0.12% for lighter wines to 0.25% for the heavier ones.
The tannin content of a wine will reduce during ageing, resulting in a mellowing.